NYC Essential Workers Must Wear Face Coverings : New York Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio

NYC Essential Workers Must Wear Face Coverings : New York Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio

In the midst of NYC’s struggle to contain and manage the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic, two related announcements were made today by top local government leaders. Mayor Bill de Blasio and NY State Governor Andrew Cuomo revealed new rules dictating that Essential Workers who come in contact with the public would be required to wear face coverings of some sort beginning on April 13, 2020.

April 04, 2020- Albany, NY- Governor Andrew Cuomo delivers daily COVID-19 Coronavirus press briefing in the Red Room of the Capitol (Darren McGee- Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

Attention might be paid to the slight differences between both declarations. The Mayor makes reference to City Workers whereas the Governor refers to employers of essential workers. Remember, essential workers aren’t just those on the front-lines such as police, medical personnel and others but as well, those in the essential service industry. Such workers are comprised of pharmacy workers, food store workers, and even members of the press.

Early in the day, the Mayor would state, “Starting tomorrow, Monday, I am requiring all City workers who come in contact with the public while on duty to wear face coverings. This’ll be a requirement of their work. We’ve already provided 1.4 million face coverings to City workers. We will provide as many more as are necessary for our City workers to consistently, constantly have a face covering on when they interact with the public”

A short time later the Governor would have his own briefing at which he would say, “We’ll also do an executive order today which directs employers to provide essential workers with a cloth or surgical face mask to their employees when they are interacting with the public. They should provide those masks cost free. New Jersey did a similar order and I think Governor Murphy was right and I want to do that here in the State of New York.”

The reference to New Jersey’s Governor concerns the Executive Order he put in place to have taken effect on April 10, 2020. Part of that order reads as follows:

“Require workers and customers to wear cloth face coverings while on the premises, except where doing so would inhibit that individual’s health or where the individual is under two years of age, and require workers to wear gloves when in contact with customers or goods. Businesses must provide, at their expense, such face coverings and gloves for their employees. If a customer refuses to wear a cloth face covering for non-medical reasons and if such covering cannot be provided to the individual by the business at the point of entry, then the business must decline entry to the individual…”

Through our own travels within and beyond the city limits there have been numerous times when I’ve witnessed non-adherence to social distancing in as far as essential service workers were concerned. I’ve seen the same thing happening amongst members of the press. Worse still, are how many of these individuals had no facial coverings whatsoever. Not that they were an absolute requirement, but now they are. These new rules would go a long way in protecting these people as well as those they come in contact with. Hopefully there’ll be widespread adherence.